Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Baz Lurhmann's Australia a Wonderful Way to While Away a Wintery Evening

My husband Brad and I watched Baz Luhrmann's Australia on Sunday. Brad works at Blockbuster and brings home the new releases a week early. A big perk for us!

Both of us loved Australia. Baz Lurhmann is a favorite director of ours, even though he's only done four films so far: Strictly Ballroom (1992), Romeo + Juliet (1996), Moulin Rouge! (2001) and Australia (2008.)

David Gulpilil as King George

Young Brandon Walters is the film's heart as Nullah, a half-aboriginal, half-white boy trying to keep one step ahead of authorities trying to ship him off to the Mission School. He lives on the cattle station known as Faraway Downs.

Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) travels from England to Australia to sell her late husband's property. When she arrives Down Under, she discovers the neighboring cattleman, King Carney plans to absorb her station into his own. King Carney is played by one of my absolute favorite Australian actors, Bryan Brown.

The film is gorgeously shot by Mandy Walker. Look at this movie-star entrance into the film for Hugh Jackman.

Nicole Kidman gets to show some grit during a cattle drive, where Lady Ashley comes face to face with the lengths King Carney will go to maintain his cattle monopoly.

But Australia really shines when The Drover strides onscreen. Hugh Jackman's rugged cattleman activates every feminine cell in a woman's body.

I really enjoyed the magical realism of the boy's storyline, whose affinity for the land and its secrets is woven strongly throughout the film.

And the romance - did I mention the romance?

How about the chaos of Japanese attacks on Australia in this WWII setting? Isn't it hard enough to realize how one feels about a love interest? Bombing raids out of nowhere really throw a wrench into the works.

Another favorite Australian actor, David Wenham plays an ambitious man who works for King Carney.

Here's the trailer for Australia. Enjoy!